Unhealthiest Protein Bars 2024 (High Sugar Protein Candy)

I'm a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

While protein bars are often marketed as healthy snacks or meal replacements, not all of them live up to the hype. Some protein bars contain high levels of sugar, unhealthy fats, and artificial ingredients, making them less beneficial for your health and fitness goals. This article highlights the unhealthiest protein bars on the market, helping you make informed choices and avoid misleading products.

One thing we will say is that these bars tend to have lots of calories and high protein, so they might be good if you’re looking to bulk. However, if your goal is to lose weight, then you’re better off with protein bars for weight loss.

FeatureClif Builder’s Protein BarMuscle Milk Protein BarPowerBar ProteinPlus
Protein Content20 grams25 grams20 grams
Sugar Content17 grams22 grams15 grams
Main Protein SourceSoy protein isolateMilk protein isolateSoy protein isolate
Artificial IngredientsYesYesYes
Suitable for VegetariansYesYesYes

Key Takeaways – Unhealthiest Protein Bars

  • Clif Builder’s Protein Bar, Muscle Milk Protein Bar, and PowerBar ProteinPlus are among the unhealthiest protein bars due to high sugar and artificial ingredients.
  • Recent trends in the protein bar industry focus on cleaner labels and healthier formulations.
  • Expert opinions can guide healthier protein bar choices and overall nutrition.

Identifying Unhealthy Protein Bars

Excessive Sugar Content

Many protein bars contain as much sugar as a candy bar, which can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels and contribute to weight gain. It’s essential to check the nutrition label for hidden sugars and high-fructose corn syrup.

Unhealthy Fats

Some protein bars are packed with trans fats and saturated fats, which can increase the risk of heart disease. Look for bars that contain healthy fats from nuts and seeds instead.

Artificial Ingredients

Protein bars with long lists of unrecognizable ingredients often contain artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. These additives can be harmful to your health in the long term.

Top 3 Unhealthiest Protein Bars

1. Clif Builder’s Protein Bar

Despite being popular among fitness enthusiasts, Clif Builder’s Protein Bars contain high levels of sugar and processed ingredients.


  • High protein content (20 grams per bar)
  • Available in various flavors
  • Widely available


  • Contains 17 grams of sugar per bar
  • High in calories (around 280 per bar)
  • Contains soy protein isolate and other processed ingredients

2. Muscle Milk Protein Bar

Muscle Milk Protein Bars are marketed as a post-workout snack but contain ingredients that may not support optimal health.


  • High protein content (25 grams per bar)
  • Convenient for on-the-go


  • Contains 22 grams of sugar per bar
  • Includes artificial flavors and sweeteners
  • High in calories (around 300 per bar)

3. PowerBar ProteinPlus

PowerBar ProteinPlus bars are designed for athletes but fall short in terms of healthy ingredients.


  • High protein content (20 grams per bar)
  • Provides a quick energy boost


  • Contains 15 grams of sugar per bar
  • High in saturated fat
  • Includes artificial flavors and preservatives

Major Differences Between the Unhealthiest Protein Bars

The Clif Builder’s Protein Bar, Muscle Milk Protein Bar, and PowerBar ProteinPlus share common issues, such as high sugar content and the presence of artificial ingredients. However, Muscle Milk Protein Bar stands out for its exceptionally high sugar content and inclusion of artificial sweeteners, making it one of the least healthy options. Clif Builder’s Protein Bar and PowerBar ProteinPlus, while still problematic, offer slightly better ingredient profiles.

Recent Developments in the Field

The market for protein bars is constantly changing, with new products and formulations appearing regularly. Recently, there has been a push towards cleaner labels and more transparent ingredient lists. Consumers are becoming more educated about nutrition and demanding products that align with a healthy lifestyle. As a result, some companies are reformulating their bars to reduce sugar content and eliminate artificial ingredients.

Top Experts in the Field

Dr. Michael Greger

Dr. Greger is a physician and bestselling author who advocates for a plant-based diet. He provides insights into healthy eating and protein bar selection on his website NutritionFacts.org.

Dr. Rhonda Patrick

Dr. Patrick is a biomedical scientist who focuses on the effects of diet on health and aging. Her research and recommendations on protein intake and healthy eating can be found on her website FoundMyFitness.

Dr. David Katz

Dr. Katz is a preventive medicine specialist and the founder of the True Health Initiative. He offers valuable advice on choosing healthy snacks and protein bars on his official site.

Author: Trimflo

Trimflo is an expert in nutrition and weight management with years of experience helping individuals achieve their fitness goals through informed dietary choices.

Leave a Comment